Goals for 2010 – The First Nine Months

It’s amazing how much can be learned in just nine months if you’re a willing student and possess the ability to perform an honest self-evaluation.

Last week’s post, Failure Is Not an Option; It’s a Necessity, discussed commitment to forward motion no matter how many check marks accumulate under the “Fail” column on my list of goals for 2010. The comments – both on the blog and via e-mail – were fabulous.

And very much appreciated!

However, I found myself wondering why so many readers responded with “Don’t give up!” or “Never quit” – as if my confessed failures would dissuade me. It was then I realized some people were under the impression sharing my failures meant I would consider quitting or giving up. Continue reading Goals for 2010 – The First Nine Months

Goals for 2010 – The First Three Months

Photo frustrated woman on floor with laptopNails dragged across a chalkboard. Two pieces of Styrofoam rubbed together. George Dubya giving a speech. All are infinitely more appealing than progress analysis, a crucial step in goal achievement. How do I know where I’m at in my plan for 2010 if I don’t stop to look at what I’ve done and what I haven’t done? Simple, I won’t know until I face the executioner, I mean, music.

Goal #1 – Write at least 1,000 words a day…Finish manuscript by March 1st.

Results – Failed. I wrote approximately 48,000 words between January 13 – March 31, 2010.

I must not whip myself. I must not whip myself.

Okay, I’ve already given myself a stern, mental tongue-lashing for my failure to achieve Goal #1. No excuses. It was my fault. Period. Therefore, I’ve adjusted the deadline to May 31, 2010.

I will not miss the new deadline.
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Prolific Blogger Award

Prolific_Blogger_AwardMy blog began in August 2008 with the goal to build its readership at a steady, organic rate, which meant I didn’t want to do heavy promotions or use other guaranteed traffic magnets. I wanted people to discover Unleash the Flying Monkeys! because of its content and not because of my marketing abilities.

Along the way, there’s been lessons in proper blog etiquette, learning the balance between my blog and my fiction, and sticking to the promise I made to blog on a somewhat regular basis but always with 100% honesty.

Readers of my blog receive the real me — straight up and uncensored. My name, my face, my dreams, my failures, and my heart are all here for the world to see. I knew some would get me and others wouldn’t. Plus, my blog is not focused on one specific purpose other than to chronicle my journey through life, so I knew that might affect the number of readers in the beginning. …continue reading

Update: Goals For 2010 – The First Two Weeks

Alrighty, I’ve found accountability helps me stay on track, so this post is an update about how well I’ve done thus far on my plan for 2010. Overall, I’m not disappointed, but, upon closer examination, there’s definitely room for improvement.

The one thing I am most proud of is the fact that I haven’t procrastinated one time in 13 days.

“Hello, my name is Leah, and I’m a recovering procrastinator.”

If something popped into my head – something important – and I heard that little voice whisper, you can do it tomorrow, then I completed the task straight away. And let me tell you, it felt freaking awesome!

For example, I woke up early today, around 5:30 AM EST, with a nudge from my muse to write this post. Really I think she was just desperate for me to write anything other than CSS . But I continued laying there, all snuggie under my fluffy comforter, contemplating whether to get up to write before work or wait until after work.

Then it hit me — if I wait until after work, my eyes will be ready to pop out of their sockets and my enthusiasm about publicly humiliating myself will surely fade. So I hopped outta bed and started writing this post.

Okay, the self-congratulation is over.

Next up, the public humiliation and self-flagellation.

Goal #1 – Write at least 1,000 words a day for Buzzards. …continue reading

WIP Update: Buzzards – Too Much of a Twist?

I told y’all how great Buzzards is coming along, right? Yeah, so, I have a concern and I don’t know if it should be a concern. Or if it’s just my inner critic attempting to censor my muse. Or if it’s a concern best handled during revision. Here’s the situation:

For the past few months I didn’t know, not on a conscious level anyway, what the big twist would be in Buzzards. I had a couple of small ones worked out that I knew would relate to the big one but the details of the major twist eluded me until yesterday. Well it revealed itself, in a huge way, and while I love it, I’m worried it’s too much for most readers to stomach.

There are two concerns: First, I don’t want the twist to undo the bond between the reader and the female lead. Second, I don’t want the reader to be so turned off by the twist’s denotation, they put the book down and give up on the story. …continue reading

WIP Update: Buzzards and Wolf

Buzzards is coming along at a respectable pace. Well, that’s not entirely true; it’s coming faster than anything I’ve written before. There are about 20 handwritten pages I have to type up before I can update the WIP word counter on My Projects page, which is one of my goals for this weekend.

I never know how much to share about my work – part of me wonders if someone will borrow the idea and part of me wonders if someone will say they’ve never heard of a more absurd idea. Both thoughts are my inner critic, and he lives in a house built on fear; therefore, I do my best to ignore his misguided attempts to help and go on about my work as usual. But right now I’m not ready to share much more than this:

Buzzards is a horror / dark fantasy novel centered around a female lead and a dying race of shapeshifters. …continue reading

Happy 2010!

Yeah, yeah; I’m a day late but they say better late than never for a reason, right?

I wanted to do two things with this post: First, I wanted to find out what you have planned for 2010. Second, I wanted to make a quick note of what I plan to do, writing wise, this year.

  1. Finish Buzzards. March 1st is the deadline.
  2. Blog about a book I read and a movie I watched. This has a weekly deadline.
  3. Blog about the progress on my WIP each week. Or more often if I hit a block, have a breakthrough, or just need to vent.
  4. Write a short story under 5,000 words based on one of the ideas in my writing journal. Chances are it’ll be “Garbage Day” because, as of right now, it’s the one I’m most excited to start next. There’s a close runner-up so this could change depending on who my muse likes more when I sit down to write. I plan to start on January 8th and finish no later than January 30th.
  5. Revise and submit one of my short stories; preferably “Garbage Day” to a zombie anthology. March 31st is the deadline.
  6. Finish Wolf. August 1st is the deadline.
  7. Revise and submit Buzzards. I’ll work on #6 and #7 at the same time per a suggestion I read this week; hence, August 1st is the deadline. However, I really want to have it revised by April 30th.
  8. Start Heartless. August 23rd (or before) is the deadline.
  9. Revise and submit Wolf. I’ll work on #8, #9 and #10 at the same time so December 31st is the deadline.
  10. Finish Heartless. December 31st is the deadline.

Are these goals too ambitious? …continue reading

Quote of the Month – Topic: Writing

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” (Unknown)

I don’t know who said this, but it inspires me. It follows along the same lines as another post I made a few weeks ago about writing because you have something to say. I write what makes me feel alive. I write or else the crazy cast of characters I carry around will slowly drive me insane. I write so I don’t drive my family nuts with yet another conspiracy theory or new twist on what really happened to the neighbor’s husband. I write because my voice is never more clear, never more true, than when it’s on paper. My words and my stories are part of me, revealed to the world, vulnerable to everyone who dares read them. I write because I have to.

Why do you write? What’s the craziest theme you’ve explored in your writing? How about the silliest?

Quote of the Month – Topic: Writing

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” (Robert Frost)

This is one of the main reasons I’ve always been scared of planning in my writing. I was so sure that any sort of pre-planning would kill any and all hope of potential twists and turns in my story. Plus, I’d read numerous articles, by very famous authors, who proclaimed they did no planning whatsoever. They just sat down at their typewriters or computers and, from start to finish, wrote the story I’d read. So I thought this was how all good writers wrote.

Well, let me tell you, I’ve never had a better grasp of my stories than after I began using Holly Lisle‘s techniques. I get pings of inspiration, potential twists, and new directions all the time, especially during the planning phases, but even after I’m finished planning, which is when I most feared losing my spark. And Holly’s Sentence Lite is the ultimate way to plan while not stifling my muse’s need to create and explore.

I’ve also learned some great ways to cultivate surprises and goosebumps and shivers down the spine–only time will tell if I’ve successfully implemented them though ;P

“Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were–I have not seen
As others saw–I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov’d, I lov’d alone.
Then–in my childhood–in the dawn
Of a most stormy life–was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold–
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by–
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

I think I connect with this poem because so many of us blame our childhoods for who we are or why we turned out this way. Personally, I think we choose to be the people we are. Yes, our environment can shape our views of the world, but we can choose to re-shape those views into different ones.

On an emotional level, this poem resonates with me because I feel utterly alone when I read it. For me, it takes me to those darks moments, in childhood and adulthood, when I felt as if no one would ever get me. Those lonely times when I felt like I was weird and dark and scary for the visions I’d see, for the words I’d write, for the thoughts I’d think.

That’s the gift of a great writer–having the ability to transport the reader to the exact place you were at when you wrote your piece. I aspire to that sort of greatness.

If you’d like to read the poem online, follow this link.

If you’d like to watch a visual interpretation of the poem, click the “play” button below. If you have troubles with the You Tube player, simply click here.